Baby's mom to testify in drug death

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Four from Inglis were charged

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor



The mother of a 5-year-old who died after ingesting morphine has pleaded out her case and will testify against two other people arrested in connection with the child's death.

In all, four women from Inglis – Valerie Ann Davenport, 44; Julianne Elizabeth Goldsmith, 24; Elizabeth A. Rydbom, 23; and Kimberly Ann Alderman, 22, – were arrested on March 7 on charges of aggravated manslaughter. Their arrest followed a report by the 8th Judicial Circuit Medical Examiner's Office that the baby died of drug intoxification.  

The quartet was accused in part of being negligent and failing to provide the necessary care and supervision to prevent the child from consuming medication that was not prescribed for her.

The child died Oct. 21, 2012, and an investigation was launched by the Inglis Police Department on Oct. 22, according to the lead investigator at the time, Officer John Dowd. The Inglis Police Department has been dissolved and its duties assumed by the Levy County Sheriff's Office.

Assistant State Attorney Bill Ezelle said Rydbom, the mother of the child, agreed to a plea deal that calls for her to testify against Davenport and Goldsmith. The two women are charged with aggravated negligent manslaughter of a child. Rydbom must also pay probation costs. Along with fines, fees and other costs she owes the court $19,016.

On Wednesday, Sept. 4, Rydbom pleaded no contest to one charge of child neglect. She was sentenced to one year in jail with credit for 6 months and 2 days served, and community control/drug offender probation for two years. 

Alderman, who was also charged with child neglect, was sentenced to five years probation earlier this year after entering a plea of no contest. She must pay the court $579.42.

The remaining defendants, Davenport and Goldsmith, are scheduled to go to trial later this year.  Davenport is in Levy County Jail on a $500,000 bond. Goldsmith, who also had a $500,000 bond, is not in the Levy County Jail.